I was working in the microlab one Sunday when this girl showed up.
“Hello,” she said, “I’d like to join your society please.”
I was on the committee of the university LGBT society; I was vaguely a member of one or two other societies, so I checked that this was the one she meant. It wasn’t the most orthodox way of doing things, but, slightly stunned, I took a couple of quid and her e-mail address. That was that, and I got back to work.
When I finished at seven, she materialised outside and greeted me again.
“I’m Nine,” I said.
“I know,” she said.
This happens sometimes. I generally try to act nonchalant about it.
She asked what I was doing that night, and I said I had no plans but that I’d been thinking it would be nice to go to the pub. So we arranged to meet after I’d had my dinner.
It went well. I was a bit dazed, I think, by how she’d appeared out of thin air. I’d never seen her before, and she was quite beautiful. She was in her first year at university and had attended boarding school before that, where she’d had an intense relationship with another girl.
A couple of nights later we got together. For the first time, I had a girlfriend who wasn’t about to leave the country in the next couple of days.
Instead, it lasted a month. I remember awkwardly getting off with her in her room in the halls of residence. I remember an e-mail she sent me with lots of kisses in it, and me feeling slightly uncomfortable and not wanting to make her feel uncomfortable in turn. That fear of commitment again!
Her birthday was two days before mine and I bailed on going out for drinks that night. She called me to ask if everything was okay and I bluffed that it was. I didn’t want to finish with her on her birthday, because I wouldn’t want that sort of thing to happen to me; but people handle things in different ways and she would have preferred me to be honest straight away. Instead, I met her the following night and I was the one who was more traumatised about the whole break-up thing.
After my birthday party, she phoned to apologise for getting off with someone at it, but she refused to tell me who it was, which made the phone call seem kind of pointless and frustrating. It turned out to be #38, just to make things kind of neat and tidy.
I think the moral of the story is that sometimes it’s awkward to jump straight into a relationship with someone you’ve just met. On the other hand, sometimes it works just fine, so maybe there’s no moral at all. #59 and I got to be proper friends a while after that, and I think I even wished at one point that we’d given it another bash now that we knew each other better. But then I started having sex with her flatmate instead, so okay.